Thursday, September 30, 2004

Robert Smith Mabry, Sr.: Life in Pittsylvania County, Virginia (1777-1812)

Robert Smith Mabry was born on October 27, 1777 in Virginia, the oldest child of Braxton Mabry. Robert's mother died before 1790, before Robert was 13 years old. Apparently Braxton was unable (or unwilling) to take care of his three pre-teen children.

The first record we have found that names our Robert Mabry is a Pittsylvania County, Virginia court order dated December 19th, 1791. At that time the custody of Robert and his sisters Polly and Jane/Jean was transferred from their father, Braxton to their uncle, William Clark (husband of Jane White). At time they were about age 14,12, and 10, respectively). It appears that Robert had subsequently little to do with his father.[more about Braxton and his troubles in a later post]

In 1797 "S. Robert Mabry" was taxed in Pittsylvania county for one white adult male (age 16+, presumably himself) and one horse. In 1799 he was only taxed for one adult and no horse. Robert was probably a tobacco farmer, like his father.

On December 6, 1799 Robert married Rebekah (or Rebecca) Adams, the daughter of Nathan Adams, in Pittsylvania County. They had five children in Virginia: Martha White, Nancy Jayne, Joel Braxton, Polly C. and Jane S. Mabry.

Robert continued to be taxed by Pittsylvania County for one white male (age 16+) and one horse from 1800 through 1810. In 1800 and 1801 there was also one black (age 16+) in his household.

In March 1809, Robert had a bit of trouble:
Robert S. Mabry having behaved Impertinently and reproachfully in the presence of the Court It is ordered that the Sheriff put him in the stocks and there keep him for the space of one hour.
There is no record of what exactly Robert did to deserve this punishment!

By the spring of 1812, Robert and family had headed west and settled on the border between Kentucky and Tennessee.

Note: our Robert Mabry is often confused with a different Robert Mabry, who also lived in the same part of Virginia, and also had a wife named Rebecca. The other Robert Mabry, son of Nathaniel Mabry, served as a lieutenant in the Revolutionary War (our Robert Mabry could not serve during the Revolution, because it ended before he was 10 years old!).
Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Order Book vol. 7, p. 71
Pittsylvania Co, VA Court Order Book vol. 13, p.420
Pittsylvania Co, VA Personal Property Tax Lists, 1796-1810 (information about Virginia Personal Property Tax Lists)

Robert Smith Mabry, Sr. mini-biography

Needed information: The Pittsylvania county land records have not been examined to see if Robert owned property there.

Thanks to Nicki Beatty, related to us through the White family, for sharing her transcriptions of the original Pittsylvania County Court Orders.

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